I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “I’ll take it from here, Mack.”
“Have a good night.”
“You know, I think I will. Thanks.” I dragged step-sis inside and closed the door.
“Okay, big brother, you can let go of me now,” she mocked.
I was pretty sure if you looked up spoiled brat in the urban dictionary, you’d find Lisa’s picture right beside the definition. You’d also find it alongside words like selfish, callous, and cold. And she’d been so sweet when I’d first met her. I guess a lot could change in five years. Well, it was high time she learned that lesson. Hell, it was beyond overdue.
“Sure thing, sis.”
She huffed, her eyes on mine, searching for something. The last few times she’d been picked up, I’d given her a talking-to, then, after much begging on her end, agreed not to tell her mother or my father. But, clearly, I’d been going about this the wrong way because it’s not like it worked. Not like she’d never done it again. And now she stood there, staring at me, looking a little confused for a moment before shrugging her shoulders and walking toward the staircase.
“I’ll let Mom and Dad know about this little incident when they get home. Let them handle this. I’m sure it’s what they want to deal with after a night on the town. Guessing car privileges are first to go, right? Wasn’t that what it was? Oh, but wait, with the pot….” I made a face as if thinking hard, but in reality, this was too damn easy. “I think that may impact allowance.”
For a moment, albeit the briefest of moments, she looked almost innocent. Or scared. Probably the latter. I’d known Lisa for five years now. She’d been fifteen when my dad and her mom had introduced us, saying they were getting married. I’d been three years older and had a clue what was going on. My dad had been open about dating, and he and my mom had been divorced for years. Lisa, on the other hand, hadn’t had a single clue. Her mom had apparently told her a few minutes before introducing her to me and my dad, and I still remember the look on her face, how white she’d gone, how quiet. I remembered talking to her that night, and every night over the next few months. We’d gotten pretty close, but then, something had changed and that Lisa had disappeared, to be replaced by this one, this cold, calculating bitch who now stood glaring.
She came back toward me, stumbling once on her way. Her gaze scanned me from head to toe. “What do you want, Jace?”
“What do you mean?” I asked in my sweetest voice.
“You always want something.”
Well, that was true. But I was only human, and, in this case, what I wanted was for her as much as for me. Okay, maybe at the start, and perhaps during the execution of the plan forming in my head, it could be perceived as being more for me than for her, but ultimately, she’d reap the benefits, too. Although it would probably take her a while to see it that way.
“What is it, money?”
I gestured around me. This was my dad’s house. The money she was offering me came from him. I shook my head. “I’ve got more money than I know what to do with.”
“Then, what? What do you want to keep this little incident between us?”
“Like the last two times I kept your secret, you mean?”
She folded her arms across her chest and continued to glare then nodded once. It was a jolty, short sort of nod. I had her, and she knew it. It made my smile widen.
“You know what I want?” I walked toward her and put my hands on her shoulders, squeezing. Oh, but how my palm itched to bend her over, bare that spoiled little ass and spank it, taking her down a notch. But it wasn’t time for that. Not yet. “Believe it or not, I want you to be a better person, Lisa. We are family, now, after all. And, quite frankly, your acting this way is hurting our family, but, most especially, it’s hurting you.” It was all true. I did want her to be better, to get over whatever was going on in her head or talk to me about it like she used to, and just be herself again. Be the girl she’d been when I’d first met her, not this person whom I didn’t like very much. But she’d cut me off a couple of years ago, and I had no idea of the reason for it. Well, okay, I may have had some idea. There had been one night when we’d been talking. She’d always come to my room and we’d lie in my bed and talk. Those nights were nice. I liked being with her. But then she’d kissed me.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t wanted the kiss, but I was three years older than her, technically an adult. She’d been fifteen, jailbait. And — and this was the biggest and — she was my stepsister. Yes, there had been a growing attraction between us, but I was sure I could keep it cool. And I had. But my rejecting her had effectively ended any friendly relations between us. I’d tried to talk to her about it, to explain that it wasn’t her I was rejecting, but she wouldn’t talk to me, not any more than she had to. In a way, I guess I was the reason for her being like she was, at least partially, and that made me feel even more responsible to help fix it. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit more sordid, and much more interesting, thoughts crept up right alongside that responsibility.